Appealing a Criminal Sentence in Michigan

In most cases, a criminal sentence is a serious matter that can negatively impact your life in varying degrees depending on the crime committed. When an individual is sentenced to years in prison, it isn’t unusual to appeal; however, it is a very complex process that requires among other things having proof and a solid reason that you feel you were unjustly sentenced.

When an individual and his/her Michigan criminal appeals attorney files an appeal of the sentence, there is no “new trial” in that the facts or evidence are not usually reconsidered. In other words, it is not a question of whether the defendant committed the crime, but whether the sentencing judge may have made an error in his or her decision to sentence you in a way that is unfair or substantially out of line with Michigan’s sentencing guidelines.

When you have made the decision to file an appeal of your sentence, there are strict rules that should be adhered to. There are forms that must be filed with the clerk of the court; filing your notice of appeal must be done within a certain window of time as well. Defendant’s who do not file an appeal within the specific time allotted will usually not have their case reviewed by a new judge or court. Once this is taken care of, an appellate brief must be written and filed. This brief is essentially an explanation to the court regarding the reasons you believe a mistake was made by the judge who sentenced you. Depending on whether it is a state or federal case, the government or prosecutor will also file their own brief in order to state their beliefs and feelings as to why the sentence you were initially given should not be changed.

As you can see, filing an appeal of your criminal sentence is complicated. To ensure that the process is followed to the letter and for the best chance at winning, you must consult with an experienced and capable Michigan criminal appeals lawyer. A seasoned attorney who is knowledgeable and skilled in the area of criminal appeals will review your case to determine whether there are legitimate grounds for an appeal.